What’s up, Fam? It has ben way too long, but we are finally back with our fresh new interview for the Underground Spotlight. This time we got a chance to speak with Michigan native, Burt Blaze. As you’ll soon see the man is a veteran of the scene with multiple projects; past, present and future.
We got a chance to delve into the personal tragedy with his group Sik Mindz, his latest album and even the current MNE vs Psychopathic “turbulence” we have floating in the air of the underground.
As usual I could ramble on, but let’s kick thing off…
Johnny O: So, let’s kick things off with a little introduction for the Faygoluers’ family. Could you tell us about yourself to start?
Burt Blaze: I’m from Michigan. When I’m not writing music that scares people I’m just a regular dude. Wife, 2 boys. Music has been a huge part if my life. Been recording my own stuff as long as I can remember. Not just rap. I play guitar & bass and have played in rock bands too.
JO: What was the music scene like for you growing up and how has it been to you as artist?
BB: I was introduced to the wicked shit when I was 11. I feel that people in this area were blessed to have to access to it when it was brand new. But as I grew up and did my own shit I’ve learned how ruthless it can be. Dishonesty runs rampant thru the underground music scene and you have to be able to weave thru the bullshit to find your way. However, I do think that right now is the best time to be an independent artist. There are so many avenues available to us via interwebs & social media that make connecting to fans world wide very easy. There’s been a wave of indie artists making it on their own terms like a middle finger to the mainstream saying “fuck you, I got this”. I love it.
JO: You have a new album in the works, “Hellfires,” can you tell us what we can expect from this release?
BB: I took my time with this one. Nothing was rushed. There are some very personal tracks on it dealing with loss, insecurity, and suicidal thoughts. There’s humor, opinions, and of course a few elaborate graphic tales of murder. Lol. I like everything I’ve ever done but I feel this project is a masterpiece. I’ve been sitting on some of these songs for a year while I perected the rest of it.
JO: How would you say this differs from your previous releases, especially your latest work, “Wildfires”?
BB: To be perfectly honest, I had stepped out of the game for a few years. Wildfires was a re-introduction. It came together much quicker and I was more interested in getting something out than the story I was telling. I love the songs on it, but I feel it just scratches the surface of things I wanted to say.
JO: Now, this isn’t the only project you have in the works. Can you tell us about your group Sik Mindz?
BB: Sik Mindz has been together since 2004. We still have some of OG tracks on a Soundclick page somewhere. Lol. It started as 3 kids just goofing around but as we grew older it evolved. We’re picky when it comes to rappers we listen to and feel like we owe it to ourselves to write the kind of stuff our favorite rappers would be into. Wordplay & lyricism always at the top of our priorities.
Spudz is my partner in that. We’ve been making tracks together forever. I feel our different styles compliment each other and we’ve both noticed that our best stuff comes when we’re working together.
Drone is the third member. He brought comedy to everything we did. On our early tracks you can hear us laughing in the background of everything, that was mostly because of him. Sometimes I’d just leave the mic recording to see what the hell kind of nonsense I would pick up.
JO: I know that the new album, “ALS: A Long Struggle,” is very personal, but would you mind telling us a little bit about it and how it came together?
We lost Drone in 2015 to ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s surreal talking about it because I still remember every little thing about when he told me. It had taken his dad a year and a half after being diagnosed and moved just as quickly with him. Its devastating. In his honor we participate with his family every year at the ALS Walk N Roll event.
Spudz was closer to him and had a much harder time finding it in himself to push forward. We did a dedication track for Hellfires called “Which Way Is Up” then started working on the album recently. ALS will feature songs with Drone on them that were either unfinished or unreleased until now. It’s got us really excited because even though he’s gone he still plays a major role in this album.
JO: Is there anything in the works, besides the previously mentioned upcoming release?
BB: Always. Lol. I’m opening for Razakel & Damien Quinn at their Voodoo Dolls & Dabs tour stop in Flint, MI at Raspberries Rhythm Bar March 18. If your readers have the means, come on out. It’s going be live as fuck.
I’m also putting together a Mixtape for Sinister Sounds Entertainment. It features artists from all over, reaching as far as Germany. I started posting this flyer in December asking artists to submit tracks no cost to them and the response has been overwhelming. A lot of talent out there and I’m just trying to showcase everyone. I figure if we’re all pushing this one project together, it’s mutually benfitial to everyone involved. Team work makes the dream work.
I’m also stockpiling Hellfires merch. CDs, stickers, buttons, etc. I may sell them online but the best way to get your hands on these things is to come to a show.
JO: Of course, music isn’t the only thing you’ve got going at the moment. Tell us about Third World Graphics.
BB: I’ve always done my own everything in regards to to gfx. In my myspace days I was constantly designing and coding new layouts and banners. I do the album artwork, logos, and flyers for all of my projects. I will work with others for these things too. Hit me up, let’s work.
JO: Where can fans find more from you online?
JO: Who have been your biggest influences in your career?
BB: Gotta give props where it’s due, ICP was my intro to the wicked shit. I may have a totally different style if not for my cousin playing me the riddle box cassette in the way way back. Twiztid for sure, I love how they’re flows keep evolving and it’s always brand new. Tech N9ne is another major influence, my song “Asylum” on Hellfires feels like if it weren’t my song, it could’ve been one of his. Idk, I don’t like listing artists cause I could go on forever with how each artist I’ve ever listened to has in some way molded me along the way.
JO: On a slightly different side of the spectrum, who would you say have been your biggest inspirations to keep going?
BB: I used to thrive off of getting noticed. That was like crack, people talking about me or my music. Good or bad, didn’t matter. Lol. But that’s short lived. What motivates me now is reaching people. Connecting with them on a deeper level and saying , “look, this is what I’m feeling. If you feel the same way let’s fuckin kick it”
I also find inspiration in my sons. They sing or dance without any reservation or inhibition. I envy that. My self conscious mind is always running a secondary dialog questioning everything I do. Not them. They just do whatever they please. Im jelly and hope to achieve their level of freedom of expression.
JO: I have to say that as a husband and father of three boys, I can completely understand being envious of the kids ability to be so free. It’s nice to hear how much inspiration you draw from them, it’s the same for me and I think you would agree that we’d have it no other way.
JO: Anyway, if you could reach out to one artist for collaboration, who would it be?
Just ONE?!?!?!? You’re Killin me smalls! ( JO: I have to interrupt for a second and point out how much my wife loved this Sandlot reference, she literally says this all the time.) Ya know, I have to answer with Twiztid. I made a remix to Breakdown last year with a verse i wrote for it. I really enjoy listening to it and would love the chance to work with them in real life.
I hate that you said “one artist” tho, lol.
JO: I don’t want to start anything, but with this divide we’ve had lately between (arguably) the two biggest underground labels, I have to ask your opinion. How do you feel about this situation? Do you feel it will ultimately have a lasting impact on underground artists like yourself?
BB: I feel like the effects of the divide are already showing themselves. Online personalities talking shit every single day about who’s doing what and what was said and whatever else. It’s disheartening. I grew up with both, I’m going to stick with both. Got love for both labels. While I know there are two sides to every story, I also know both sides will spin the truth in their favor. I try to look at every thing as objectively and critically as possible.
I can understand the drama surrounding YW, if everything we’ve been told is factual. But the stories conflict so someone isn’t being 100% honest. My opinion tho, as far as YW is concerned, if I were Jumpsteady I wouldn’t want my daughter being that dudes local piece either. He’s got groupies in every city, a fiance, AND he’s tagging my daughter??? No fuckin way. IF ALL OF THAT IS TRUE signing YW is MNE pissing on Psychopathic. But they said the decision had been made months prior, so again, someone isn’t bein totally truthful.
As far as Twiz not doing the March, I can’t speak to that. They don’t believe in it. They’ve made that clear. I feel if you don’t believe in it you shouldn’t be there. It’s not a party. It’s not the gathering. It’s a protest against wrong doings to juggalos simply for being juggalos. It goes beyond whether or not the FBI list no longer exists, the stigma is still there. If you’re there for the wrong reasons it’ll attract the wrong attention and ultimately hurt the movement. I’m very impressed by J&J’s efforts in the community and this is an extension of that.
As far as the divide tho. Fucking knock it off. This shit is amplified by over opinionated, under stimullated, fuck bags trolling people online. The only time I heard either of them (ICP or Twiztid) say anything in regard to picking as side was when J said he couldn’t share a stage with them after the YW drama. Everything else has been fabricated by bored juggalos looking to talk some shit. Stop it.
JO: Is there anything you would like to say to the Underground Community or the Faygoluvers’ Family directly before we go?
BB: I want to thank everyone for the love and support I’ve been given the last 2 years pushing my projects. Thank you FLH for this opportunity to get my name out there. And to everyone just now hearing about me, its all love. We’re family bound by things greater than ourselves. This understanding of who we are and idgaf if you don’t like it attitude. We’re the island of misfit toys and need to be sticking together instead of fighting each other. WHOOP WHOOP!
JO: So, like we normally do, let’s end this thing on a high note with a few shout outs.
BB: What up to Spudz. And to Drone’s wife Shawna and their kids. BIG SHOUT TO CORTANA THE CUNT! Perry at Native Kings, they’re a clothing company in Pontiac, MI. Jesse Robinson at Viscious Ink in Sterling Heights. Shout to Jacob Cook, Mr. 8 Legz. Peezy P, Karnage, and everyone at Outsiders Inc.
Though you know how much I hate it, this will conclude another Underground Spotlight her on Fayvoluvers. I want to thank Burt Blaze, Sinister Sounds Ent., Third World Graphics and the Sik Mindz crew. If you liked what you heard, saw or read be sure to check out the links above. Ok, for those of you (like me) who may be too lazy to scroll up, I’ll link the below as well.
Be sure to keep an eye for that new “Hellfires” release that’s on the horizon. If you’re in the area, also be sure to check out the upcoming show Burt Blaze has with Damien Quinn and Razakel.
Oh, and be on the look out. There are so many Underground Spotlight interviews in the pipeline, just wanted to be unleash. So, expect more soon.
Now before I officially sign off, as always if you would like to be featured right here on the Underground Spotlight, shoot me an e-mail at JohnnyO@faygoluvers.net. Make sure to include a short bio, why you would like to/should be featured, a track or two and a couple of pics. Of course, don’t forget to include UGS or something similar in the subject line. So, until next time…